Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sympathy for the Devil(s)

I hate the New Jersey Devils. Hate is an ugly word, I get that. But I hate the Devils. I hated them for pioneering the use of the defensive “trap” system and using it so successfully that it led do numerous Stanley Cup titles in the 90s and in the first decade of the 21st century. I have had a burning hatred for them in the pit of my stomach ever since they eliminated the Lightning from the playoffs in 2003. I hate that Martin Brodeur is the best goalie in the game today and he's not on my team. I HATE them.

Why do I go into such detail about why I hate them? I want my opinion on that franchise to be perfectly clear when I say what I am about to say. I think the league went a bit overboard in punishing them for the Ilya Kovalchuk contract debacle. The Devils finally worked out a 15 year, $100 million dollar deal that the league found more acceptable. The NHLPA agreed on an amendment to the Colletive Bargaining Agreement to prevent contracts like this from cropping up again. You think that would put the issue to rest right?

Wrong. The maximum fines that could be levied against the Devils were applied, aka $3 million. The Devils also lose their third round draft pick in the 2011 draft as well as a first round choice any time in the next four years. Personally, I think it's hypocritical.

The league took exception to Kovalchuk's contract. But what about Roberto Luongo in Vancouver or Marian Hossa in Chicago? All these other long term deals that are extremely front loaded when it comes to how much of that salary will be paid out. Marian Hossa will make $55.3 million in the first seven years of his contract and 8 million in the remaining five. Luongo will be under contract until he is 43 years old making over $56 million in the first eight years of his contract, $7 million in the last four. The Blackhawks and Canucks aren't being fined. They aren't losing draft picks.

The Devils are being punished for pushing the limits of these insanely priced, long term contracts to the point where the league can't turn the other way. They couldn't look the other way because it was just THAT ridiculous. The League let it get to that point. They made their bed after the lockout, they should have to deal with it. They should have just let the arbitrator make the decision and leave it at that. Instead, Kovy-gate was rehashed and the league got more negative press. But you know Bettman thinks they came out on top in this one.

In happier news, here is Alex Ovechkin in a commercial with Donovan McNabb:

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